Rockets advance to championship series against Papineauville Vikings

North Dundas takes semi-final series against Eagles in Game 6; first home game of the finals this Saturday

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager

The North Dundas Rockets finished off their National Capital Junior Hockey League Semi Finals match up against the St. Isidore Eagles the past Sunday night with a 6 to 4 win on the road.  The NCJHL Final series is Scheduled to begin Friday, March 23rd, against the 1st place Papineauville Vikings, in Saint-Andre De Avelin at the Stephane Richer Arena.  The Vikings won the NCJHL regular season title and recently knocked off the Clarence Creek Castors in the other Semi Final series.  The Rockets finished in second place behind Papineauville making this a head to head match up of the leagues two top teams

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 the Rockets went down 2 to 1 in the series following an 8 to 5 loss on the road.  Scoring for the Rockets in the loss where Mckay Balaton, Shawn Simms, Connor Roth (2) and Tom Fingler with Brodie Barkley and Chris Marchand drawing 3 assists each while Justin Lefebvre and Shawn Simms each added a helper.  Maxime Choquette lead the offense for the Eagles with a 5 point night while new comers Kyle Collette and Jeremi Belanger factored into 5 of the Eagles goals.

Thursday, March 16th, North Dundas was on the road again for game 4 of the series and really made a statement on route to a 10 to 2 win, and an even series at two games a piece.  Assistant Captain Shawn Simms lead the Rockets to a 3 to 0 lead after the first period with a pair of goals assisted by (Brad Stitt, Bryden van Kessel 8:36 PP); (Brad Stitt, Justin Lefebvre 1:15 PP) and Justin Lefebvre (Shawn Simms 0:33).  The Second period saw Brad Stitt (Justin Lefebvre 14:48), Matt Cowley (unassisted 9:28) and Chris Marchand (Mckay Balaton, Connor Roth 0:56 PP) double the Rockets lead heading into the final period.

The North Dundas onslaught continued early in the 3rd when Brad Stitt (Shawn Simms 14:49) opened the scoring.  Tanner Barnett (Aaron Turcotte, Mckay Balaton 5:54 PP); Chris Marchand (Connor Roth 4:01) and Mckay Balaton (Chris Marchand, Nick Sourges 0:49) rounded out the scoring and the win.

Saturday, March 17th, The Rockets came home on St Patrick’s Day to play game 5 in the comfy confines of the Chesterville arena and another capacity crowd in attendance.  Brad Stitt (Bryden van Kessel 14:40) gave the home team an early 1 to 0 lead with a wrist shot that beat Eagles goalie Philip Roy clean on the blocker side.  Tom Fingler (Connor Roth, Bryden van Kessel 2:41 PP) found the back of the net and a two goal lead heading into the second period.  Rockets Captain Bryden Vankessel put on clinic during the second frame scoring two power play goals and a shorthanded marker in less then ten minutes with assists going to Chis Marchand, Connor Roth (2), Tom Fingler and Mckay Balaton.  The Rockets lead 5 to 1 heading into the 3rd period.

van Kessel (Fingler, Roth 10:15) scored the Rockets 6th goal of the game.  Less than three minute later Mckay Balaton (Shawn Simms, Tanner Barnett 9:09) and Matt Cowley (Tom Fingler, Connor Roth 8:20) rounded out the scoring and an 8 to 4 win.

Sunday, March 18th, in Saint Isidore, both teams were tied at 4 in a rough affair heading into the 3rd period until Connor Roth hammered home a one timer late in the period to put the Rockets up 5 to 4.  Chris Marchand would had the 6th goal flying down the left wing finding the back of the net off the rush.  The rest of the scoring for the Rockets was done by Justin lefebvre, Bryden van Kessel, and Shawn Simms while Fingler, Lefebvre, Simms, Marchand and Vankessel helped with assists throughout the game.  Jason Buma recorded the win.

As General Manager of the club, it’s been a roller coaster of a series for our team.  We were awful in game one, great in game two, beaten by two illegal players in game 3, then won 3 straight to finish the series in spite of some disgraceful officiating in all three wins.  We are looking forward to the match up with Papineauville, the 1st and 2nd place teams meeting in the finals should provide some entertaining hockey.  From a player stand point we are getting great effort out of everyone starting in nets with Jason Buma and Reilly Tondreau.  Our D consisting of Bryden Vankessel, Matt Cowley, Brodie Barkley, Tanner Barnett, Nick Sourges and Ryan Carbonette have been very good.  Up front, all three lines are going and we are getting defensive and offensive contributions from everyone as the score sheet shows.  I would also like to note that we got some help from Kage Hallett out of Kemptville minor hockey who dressed in both of the last two wins.

Papineauville is going to be a challenge, a good hockey team that has been in first place most of the year with a great offense and solid goaltending.  This series is truly a best on best situation.  If we show up and give it everything we have as a team then I am sure the Vikings will have all they can handle with the Rockets.

The first home game of the NCJHL finals will be Saturday night, March 24th at the Chesterville Arena, 7:30 p.m. puck drop.

Thanks again to the community for all the support, one more round to go.

See you at the rink.


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